Northern Ireland has its own signature take on soda bread in the form of farl wedges, derived from the Gaelic word fardel, roughly translated to “four part.” Though they’re traditionally baked on an open-hearth flame, we baked our farls on the more modern griddle. In keeping with the methods of the Old World, though, we harned the dough—turning and cooking the sides of the farl to make sharp, crisp edges.
- 1⅔ cups (208 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon (2.25 grams) kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
- 3 tablespoons (42 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed and divided
- ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons (225 grams) whole buttermilk
- Herb Compound Butter (recipe follows)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda until well combined. Using your fingers, cut in 2 tablespoons (28 grams) cold butter until mixture resembles bread crumbs. Make a well in center, and add buttermilk. Using a wooden spoon, stir buttermilk into dry ingredients, working from center to outside of bowl, just until combined and a dough forms.
- Turn out dough onto a heavily floured surface, and flour top of dough. Using floured hands, tuck and rotate dough until edges are rounded and even. Pat into an 8-inch circle (½-inch thickness). Using a knife dipped in flour, cut into quarters.
- Preheat a cast-iron griddle to medium heat. (See Note.) Add remaining 1 tablespoon (14 grams) butter to griddle.
- Brush and shake off any excess flour from dough quarters, and place, not touching, on hot griddle. Cook until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. (Bread will double in size and puff up; if you want a neater look, use knife or bench scraper to keep edges straight.) Turn, and cook until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. (If you tap bottom of loaf, it should sound hollow.) Stand each farl on its side, and place side by side. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes; repeat with remaining 2 sides. Serve warm with Herb Compound Butter.
A 12-inch cast-iron skillet will work, too. Cook farls until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes per side.
Herb Compound Butter
- ½ cup (113 grams) salted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon (2 grams) chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon (2 grams) chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 teaspoon (1 gram) lemon zest
- In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients until well combined. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Let stand until softened before serving.